We all know that a good morning routine is a great way to start our day. It’s even touted that the most successful people are those who follow a positive, healthy list of things that get the day rolling. But an evening routine is equally important. And, just like a morning start doesn’t have to be anything spectacular or unrealistic like running five (or any) miles or cooking a hot breakfast, your evening routine shouldn’t be either. Both should be life-giving, soul-soothing, consistent and doable.
Are you a Morning or Evening Person?
Full disclosure: I am forever working on creating a consistent morning routine that shouts “there’s no way I can’t win today!” However, more often than not, it begins with alarm clock denial and snooze button bartering. This is shortly followed with email checking, social media scrolling and work planning.
This, of course, is not on any recommended list. It takes a long time and a good amount of coffee for my synapses to get going in the morning. As hard as I have tried to wrangle myself , the morning is not my jam. Every new day rolls around with my high hopes of jumping out of bed to the tune of Mel Robbins’ 5-4-3-2-1 mantra: https://melrobbins.com/five-elements-5-second-rule/
It is replaced by me (on the left)
This spurs my belief in the importance of the evening routine. Thrive where you’re alive. I’m not alone. Many of us are nocturnally sparked. We think better, we create better. We have been warming up all day long so are better at things. Having some success at how we end the day with a well-crafted evening routine is just as important as how we started it.
Here are some ideas to help make your evening routine your personal soul oasis:
1. Spend Time Alone
Get away from all the people. It is imperative that you have time to yourself in the evening to decompress, to process, to fill back up. Run an errand, fill the car with gas, go for a walk. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, give yourself the gift of quiet aloneness. This is not a selfish act, it is a refilling of your cup so you can pour out again.
2. Zone Out
You have done so much thinking today, put yourself on autopilot. Do whatever is is that lets you completely disengage from all the things you did during the day. Examples include cooking, watching Netflix, reading, walking, sitting on the deck, swimming, bird watching, jewelry making, crafting. Anything that brings you joy and is the opposite of what you did all day.
3. Resolve Issues
Never go to bed mad, especially with someone in your household. Find a compromise, commit to thinking about it. Or just say you’re sorry. It just isn’t worth the toll on your mental health that harboring resentment and anger will take.
4. Work Out
Evening exercise is a great way to get a good night’s sleep. It may be hard to motivate, but falling asleep and staying there is a worthy reward. Watch your favorite show on Netflix while on the stationary bike. Or powerwalk in the neighborhood to a podcast you’ve been wanting to catch up on.
5. Get Clean
One of the best things you can do for your evening is investing in a good skin care routine. Cleanser, toner, serum and moisturizer are the must-haves. Find one that works for you by asking friends what they use and then checking that it is safe for you at https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/
Take a quick, cool shower at night. It washes away the day and lets you get into bed feeling clean. Change your sheets frequently and choose a pillow that works for you. Copper fiber fabric pillows are cooler and cleaner.
6. Form A Habit
Sleep experts know that perhaps the most important habit of an evening routine is getting into bed at a set time every night that will allow for 8 hours of sleep. Do what works for you. And don’t eat at least an hour before bed to stave off heartburn and nightmares.
7. Turn It Off
Although this one is the hardest things to do in our crazy paced culture, turning off all your screens is quintessential: your tv, your tablet and your phone have to be shut off to enable your brain to do the same. It’s not easy, but it’s crucial to a successful wind down of your mind.
8. Name your Successes
In a journal or your mind, list five wins for the day. “I got dressed, I made my bed, I resolved this problem, I have a plan of action, I didn’t lose my cool when this happened.” The big and small, it all counts as success.
Every night before I go to sleep, I say ‘thank you’ to my Higher Power. Everyday is a gift and I know that in spite of problems I have experienced so much good in one day and I am extraordinarily grateful for that.
10. Meditate or Listen
This one is often the final frontier. Find something you can listen to at night that quiets your mind. An audio book that is not self-help, calming music you love, maybe spiritual or smooth jazz. My new favorite is bedtime yoga: Easy & Quick Night Time Guided Meditation Before Sleep (10-min) Bedtime Yoga
It might seem like a lot of work at the end of the day when you’ve already done so much. But when you frame it as part of your integral self-care, it becomes a necessity and not a chore. Giving yourself the gift of time and renewal truly honors your mind, body and soul.